How A 4-Year-Old Auschwitz Survivor Finally Found His Family

Menachem Bodner, a twin survivor of the Mengele experiments, lost his entire family when he was just a little boy. For 68 years, he did not know what had happened to the rest of his family. He is still searching for his twin brother, but recently found his first cousins in California thanks to a persistent genealogist.

About a year and a half ago, Ynet published the story of Menachem Bodner, a twin survivor of the Mengele experiments, who after 70 years, thanks to a persistent genealogy researcher, discovered his real name, his place of birth and the fact that he has distant relatives living in Israel.

Recently, thanks to a DNA test and a research of his roots in the United States, he also found cousins he never knew he had, and held a video chat with them from California last week.

In addition, for the first time in his adult life, he received a picture of his parents, who were erased from his scarred memory in Auschwitz and who he had not seen since the family was sent to the camps by the Gestapo.

Can You Marry Your Cousin?

Consider this list:

Charles Darwin married his first cousin.

Albert Einstein’s parents were first cousins. Then Albert married his own first cousin. Elsa Lowenthal, Einstein’s second wife, was his first cousin on his mother’s side. In fact, they were also “double cousins.” Lowenthal also happened to be Einstein’s second cousin on his father’s side.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt were fifth cousins, once removed (a chart showing their relationship is available at

John Adams married his third cousin, Abigail Smith.

John F. Fitzgerald, former mayor of Boston and grandfather of John F. Kennedy, married his second cousin, Mary Josephine Hannon.

Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York, married his second cousin once removed, Regina Peruggi

Donny Osmond Joins RootsTech 2015

One of the biggest names in entertainment from one of the most well-known families in the world will be part of the largest family history conference in the world. RootsTech 2015 announced today that entertainer, actor, author, and television host Donny Osmond will be joining RootsTech as a keynote speaker on Saturday, February 14, 2015. He will inspire the thousands of conference attendees to discover and share family stories of the past, present, and future.

An Automotive Family Reunion: Remember Your Father by Buying his old Car

Stock photo of a 1973 Corvette Convertible, not the one mentioned in the article. Click on the above picture to view a larger version.

Scott Bachman’s father passed away some time ago. When thinking of his father’s life and the times Scott spent with his father, some of his most cherished childhood memories were those of his late father’s beloved orange 1973 Corvette Stingray convertible. Scott was three years old when his father purchased the car. His father died while working on the car.

Years after the father’s death, Scott’s mother sold the car. Scott recently began searching for the car, and when he found it, he bought it.

Jane E. Wilcox Named Contributing Editor of New York Genealogical and Biographical Record

Jane Wilcox is well-known for her radio show: “The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told.” Now she is expanding her role, as described in this announcement:

KINGSTON, N.Y. (October 1, 2014) – Professional genealogist Jane E. Wilcox of Forget-Me-Not Ancestry has joined the team of contributing editors of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record. Wilcox, an author, national lecturer and radio show host, joins an international group of editors.

A member of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society’s Education Committee as well, Wilcox said, “It is a great honor to be asked to join this distinguished team of contributing editors, which includes three fellows of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society and two fellows of the American Society of Genealogists. I look forward to the collaboration.”

The Record is a peer-reviewed scholarly journal of great distinction in continuous publication since 1870 and is published quarterly by the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B).

An Interview with Paul Allen, Co-Founder

Many people in the genealogy business know Paul Allen, one of the two entrepreneurs who purchased a small book publishing company, called Ancestry Publishing, in 1997. They converted it into what has since become a multi-million dollar online powerhouse called Not bad for a man who started his career by studying Russian as an undergraduate at Brigham Young University with plans to become a professor, like his father.

Justin Heifetz of the Gallup Business Journal recently interviewed Paul Allen and his article is now available online at Gallup’s web site. In the interview, Paul describes his path from starting as a student in Russian, making several side trips into other business ventures, and eventually becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Another Humorous Obituary

Raymond Alan Brownley of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, was obviously a self-made man. Quoting his obituary:

“He despised canned cranberry sauce, wearing shorts, cigarette butts in his driveway, oatmeal, loud-mouth know-it-alls, Tabasco sauce, reality TV shows, and anything to do with the Kardashians.”

That’s only the beginning. The obituary is quite long, describing Raymond as “He was generous to a fault, a pussy cat at heart, and yet he sugar-coated absolutely nothing.”

You can read all of it at

Jane Wilcox to Interview Robert Charles Anderson on Internet Radio

Here is a notice from “The Forget-Me-Not Hour:”

Robert Charles Anderson will join host Jane E. Wilcox on “The Forget-Me-Not Hour: Your Ancestors Want Their Stories to Be Told” radio show on Wednesday, 20 August at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time. Bob will talk about his latest book — hot off the press — entitled Elements of Genealogical Analysis. He will discuss this genealogical research methodology approach that he has used for more than 30 years in his work on the Great Migration Study Project. He’ll tell us what we can find in the book and how it can help us in our genealogy research.

Listen live or on-demand after the show airs at

A Tombstone That Says It All

Photo by Alan Jones, used here with permission

Sometimes a tombstone can be brutally honest. Here is one example, as shown in the photograph taken by Alan Jones in the Arrowtown’s Cemetery in Otago Province, New Zealand. You may have to click on the image to the right to view a larger version. Then you should be able to read the bottom line.

Britain’s Oldest WWII Prisoner of War, Survivor of the Notorious Great Escape camp Stalag Luft III, Has Passed Away

The man believed to be Britain’s oldest surviving prisoner of war, who was held captive at the camp immortalized in The Great Escape, has died five days after turning 100. Sergeant Reginald Drake was one of the few remaining British survivors of the infamous Stalag Luft III camp in Zagan, Poland, where 76 men attempted to escape to their freedom in 1944. The airman was based there for 11 months, during the four years he was held captive by Germans during the Second World War.

Teresa Wenzel to Receive Top Award from MoSGA

The Missouri State Genealogical Association (MoSGA) announced Teresa Wenzel, member of the Vandalia Area Historical Society, will be a recipient of the MoSGA Director’s Award to be presented at the state’s annual conference in Columbia on August 1-2, 2014. The MoSGA Director’s Award is given to individuals who have made an exceptional contribution to the field of genealogy and family history over an extended period of time.

You can read the details in an article in the Vandalia Leader web site at

Victoria Craig’s Interview of Tim Sullivan, CEO of

Victoria Craig of Fox Business News has published an interview of Tim Sullivan, CEO of It gives an insight to the man that you won’t read in his official bio on the company’s web site.

Did you know that Tim’s first job was working for the Washington Redskins? No, he wasn’t the starting quarterback. Instead, the 14-year-old landed a job handing out towels to the team’s players at the summer training camp. He seems to have done well since then, however.

You can read Victoria Craig’s interview and watch a video at

Man Dead for 200 Years Gets American Citizenship

Sometimes it takes a while to get things done. Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, the Viscount of Gálvez, was recently granted honorary American citizenship. Gálvez was a hero of the American Revolution, having led battles against the British at Pensacola and along the Gulf Coast. Galveston, Texas is named for Gálvez.

The Brutally Honest, and Somewhat Witty, Obituary for George Ferguson

Genealogists typically read lots of obituaries but very few of them match the recent one for George Ferguson of Oak Bay, British Columbia. Quoting from George’s obituary:

“What to say about George? Certainly, no one could accuse him of having been a loving son, brother, or father. He’d gladly have stolen the shirt off your back and he was generous to a fault with other people’s money. Was he a small-time con-man with grandiose schemes? Probably. But another view of him is that he was the most exciting member of his family and of the families he married into. He was a poor man’s rhetorician who beguiled certain woman into buying into his promises and dreams.”

Mystery Haunts Woman Left on Doorstep as Baby

Here is a challenge for genealogists: Can you help this woman identify her parents? Admittedly, it will be quite a challenge.

Julie Himebaugh was approximately 6 months old when she was left on a doorstep in the city of Ludington in western Michigan on May 7, 1946. The blue-eyed girl was in a bundle of clothes, baby formula and had a note pinned to her blanket.

Genealogy Expert William Forsyth Earns Distinguished Industry Achievement Award

Many of us know Bill Forsyth from all his work at ProQuest. It is nice to see him honored for all his achievements. The following was written by ProQuest:

RUSA recognizes professional dedication and expertise in genealogical reference and research

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 26, 2014 — The Reference and User Services Association, (RUSA), a Division of the American Library Association, announced William (Bill) Forsyth, director of product management for ProQuest, is the recipient of the Genealogical Publishing Company award. The award, $1,500 and a citation donated by the Genealogical Publishing Company and sponsored by the History Section of RUSA, was created in 1992 to encourage, recognize and commend professional achievement in historical reference and research librarianship. Mr. Forsyth’s outstanding contributions to the field sustain the importance of genealogy in historical research. He is a widely recognized expert in genealogy and a frequent speaker. Mr. Forsyth is an active member of RUSA, completing a two-year term as Chair of the Local History Committee and will begin a new term as a member of the Genealogy Committee. He also serves on the Records Preservation and Access Committee and is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists.

Michael Nolden Henderson wins Author of the Year Award

The following was written by the Georgia Writer’s Association:

Atlanta, GA – June 20, 2014 – Sugar Hill, GA resident and first-time author, Michael Nolden Henderson, was recently awarded finalist in the 50th Georgia Author of the Year Awards (GAYA) presented by the Georgia Writer’s Association. Henderson wrote his memoir, Got Proof! My Genealogical Journey Through the Use of Documentation, in 2013.

“Being honored with such a distinguished award for my very first book is both humbling and encouraging,” said Henderson. “This is truly a tribute to my Louisiana ancestors whose lives inspired me to write Got Proof.”

German and Italian POWs Lie in Oklahoma Graves on U.S. Route 66

Along America’s most fabled road, Route 66, lie the almost forgotten graves of German and Italian prisoners of war brought to Oklahoma some 70 years ago and who now rest in the red soil of a former Wild West pioneer outpost. All but ignored by the thousands who travel Route 66 each year on nostalgic tours in search of bygone America, there are few signs and little fanfare surrounding the cemetery housing the remains of 62 German and eight Italian soldiers.

You can read the interesting story in a Reuters article by Heide Brandes at

Fortune Magazine Interviews Executive Vice President Eric Shoup

Fortune writer Chanelle Bessette recently interviewed Eric Shoup of Eric is the Executive Vice President of Product at the company. Eric talks about creating the “ancestral graph of mankind, we’re all ultimately connected” and the “challenge is growing the family history category” at

You can read the interview at

Genealogy Shows Cardinal O’Connor’s Mother Was Jewish

The Catholic Church’s top official in New York, Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor, was well-known as a defender and friend of the Jewish people. However, he apparently was unaware that his mother was born Jewish, the daughter of a rabbi. “The basic fact is, my mother was Jewish,” said Mary O’Connor Ward-Donegan, the cardinal’s 87-year-old sister.

You can read more in an article by Alison Leigh Cowan in the New York Times at


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